Rockville Centre, New York, July 7, 2006 - Bishop William Murphy assigned Father Khoa Lê, who was recently ordained into the priesthood, to St. James parish in Seaford, N.Y., effective June 10, 2006.

Father Lê, 32, is a Vietnam native who grew up under the Communist regime, which harassed his family for their religious beliefs. He studied architecture at college until his family was expelled from their compound and came to America with the sponsorship of his oldest brother in 1994.

The immigrant was inspired by his parish priest, who continued to spread the word of God and teach people about Jesus despite government oppression. When his new environment was overwhelming, Father Lê called upon his close relationship with God for comfort and reassurance. He honed his English skills, juggled various jobs and studied at Suffolk Community College.

Realizing his desire to become a priest, Father Lê attended St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. while living in Cathedral Seminary Residence in Douglaston, N.Y. Upon completion of his degree, he entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y. and completed his theological studies. He spent his pastoral year serving the sick at St. Frances de Chantal parish in Wantagh, N.Y. and completed his deaconate assignment at St. Ignatius Martyr parish in Long Beach, N.Y.

“Father Lê almost immediately offered himself to the Lord and the priesthood,” after escaping the Communist regime, said Father Robert S. Hewes, pastor of St. James parish. “It’s always a very great honor to the parish when the bishop assigns a new priest.”

Father Lê comes from a “very different environment” and offers “insights that would be unique,” according to Father Hewes.

After the June 10 ordination Mass, Father Lê joined Father Henry Reid, another newly ordained priest, and Bishop Murphy, to concelebrate Mass at the Eucharistic Congress youth event at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School.

Father Lê described his first two subsequent weeks as “wonderful.”

“The people and the parish are very welcoming and the people always are here to look out for the priests,” he said.

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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home-care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information, visit www.drvc.org

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